Partition and a Prophecy
Back in 1994, in The Millennium Book of Prophecy, I picked the South Asian region as the first most likely area to wage a developing-world version of mutually assured nuclear destruction; in other words, what I defined as a “Nuclear Bush War.”
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948) the father of Indian Independence believed the division of India into Muslim and Hindu dominated states would increase sectarian discord in South Asia. What follows is a passage from a HogueProphecy Bulletin written on the last day of 2001, nearly seven years ago, around the time Jihad terrorists coming out of Pakistan tried a dramatic commando attack in India’s heartland that could bring on a military crisis, indeed a nuclear war. This passage from that bulletin gives the historical background to why Gandhi made his dire prophecy:
In the monsoon season of 1947, in the final days of the British Raj in India, the key leaders of Indian resistance to British rule confronted each other over shape of the independence to come. Although for years Mohandas Gandhi, the spiritual and political father of the predominantly Hindu Congress party, and Muhammad Ali Jinnah (1876-1948), the leader of the Muslim League, were united in their fight for independence from British rule, they stubbornly disagreed about what shape that Indian independence should take. Gandhi believed that India should remain united, whereas Jinnah could not see how the new India, with its huge Hindu population of 250 million, could ever treat a minority of 90 million Muslims as anything but second class citizens. For Jinnah the only solution was the partition of India’s predominantly Muslim provinces into a new Islamic-friendly state of Pakistan (Urdu for “The Land of the Spiritually Pure”). Gandhi believed that a secular based democracy would eventually find a way to protect all minorities given time and patience. A rending of India into two nationally and religiously divided entities would create a climate of greater sectarian violence than ever before.
To accommodate Jinnah, Gandhi was ready to undercut his own political party and Jawaharlal Nehru, his chief disciple and designated choice for prime minister, for the sake of unity. If Jinnah would forego partition Gandhi was ready to order Nehru and the Congress party leadership to step aside and allow Jinnah and leaders of his Muslim League form the first Indian government.
Though initially stunned by the radical offer, Jinnah rejected Gandhi. To him no power on earth would prevent Pakistan, even if a partition of India created minorities of millions of Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims stranded in new countries not of their choice. Jinnah’s dream of Pakistan would live, whatever the cost; even if the new state could hardly sustain itself as a viable nation.
“Better a moth-eaten Pakistan than no Pakistan at all,” Jinnah would later say.
British parliament passed a bill granting partition in July 1947. Independence came the following month with the birth of two new nations of India and Pakistan. The physical division led to an autumn of mass murder and bloodshed and the agonizing displacement of tens of millions. On the dusty roads and tracks across the new frontiers, hoards of Muslims refugees from Hindu dominated India passed millions of Hindus exiting Muslim dominated Pakistan. Over 1 million people died in Hindu-Muslim violence during the great exodus. On January 30, 1948, Gandhi himself was assassinated by Nathuram V. Godse. A Hindu fundamentalist, Godse believed Gandhi had sold India out to partition and to the Muslims.
Upon Pakistan’s independence, Jinnah was installed as Governor General of an economically feeble and politically stressed new country of diverse peoples who shared little else in common but Islam. Pakistan consisted of eastern and western provinces separated by a thousand miles of hostile Indian territory. Jinnah survived Gandhi by eight months. A chain smoker all his adult life, he finally succumbed to lung disease.
Before Gandhi’s martyrdom, and before he received the title Mahatma (great soul), he prophesied [in 1947] that any partition of India would magnify the historic discord and suspicion between Muslims and Hindus in South Asia. Partition, he said, would destine India and Pakistan to fight four wars ‚Äö?Ñ?Æ each more terrible than the last.
Mahatma Gandhi’s Prophecy, 31 December 2001
In Mumbai 9/11, Part Three, we will walk through a short history of the last three Indo-Pakistani Wars.
(11 December 2008)